Jun 12, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) looks on prior to the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Terry Collins' ninth inning moves Wednesday were nonsensical

The Mets’ Wednesday afternoon game looked like it was going to be a ho-hum affair, with Bartolo Colon dominating from the second batter of the game until the finish. Before that could happen, Terry Collins started doing things.

With Bartolo Colon at 86 pitches, and having retired 13 of the last 14 batters faced, it appeared to all who were watching that Colon would be back out there for the complete-game attempt in the ninth.

However, with two outs and no one on in the top of the ninth, Colon was lifted for pinch hitter Bobby Abreu.

Asked after the game why Colon was taken out, Terry Collins had two reasons, neither of which made much sense.

Collins said that with Colon at 86 pitches, but pitching in the heat, it was akin to having thrown 120 pitches.

Collins then said that if there had been one out in the ninth, he would’ve let Colon hit. However, with two outs, he wanted to send someone up there to try to hit a home run. Bobby Abreu has one home run in 2014, and three in his last 355 at-bats.

Moving on.

With Colon out of the game, Collins brought in his closer – Jenrry Mejia – for the ninth.

Mejia opened the ninth by allowing a double down the right field line and hitting Jon Jay with a pitch.

Mejia responded by getting Matt Holliday to ground into a double play, and by getting Allen Craig to hit a soft grounder to the left side. Because of where David Wright was positioned, Craig’s grounder wound up being a run-scoring infield single.

With Matt Adams stepping to the plate and both Jeurys Familia and Dana Eveland warming up in the bullpen, Collins walked out to the mound and removed Mejia from the game.

Removing Mejia from the game made no sense. That’s to make nothing of the fact that a young, successful closer was pulled from a game seemingly for no reason.

When you delve deeper into it, things get even more puzzling.

Instead of going to Jeurys Familia, Collins opted to turn to Dana Eveland, who has spent more time in the minor leagues than the major leagues since making his debut in 2005, and who has thrown eight innings in the majors since 2012.

Although Eveland retired Adams to end the game, it doesn’t mean the process was smart. The process, in this instance, was ridiculous.

Asked after the game why he pulled Jenrry Mejia, Collins said that Adams had been crushing right-handers, and that he needed to go to a lefty in that situation.

Let’s forget for a moment that Dana Eveland is simply not a good pitcher, and entertain Collins’ need to go to the lefty.

Now, let’s look at Dana Eveland’s career numbers against left handed hitters.

For his career, Eveland has allowed lefties to hit .290 against him.

Mejia, the pitcher Eveland replaced (who also happens to be the closer), has held lefties to a .228 batting average over the course of his career. In 2014, lefties have hit .214 against Mejia.

Collins’ moves on Wednesday were not just highly questionable, they defied both logic and reason.

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Tags: Bartolo Colon Jenrry Mejia Terry Collins

  • Clyde Spillenger

    I don’t agree that replacing Mejia with Eveland “made no sense” or was “ridiculous.” One thing you don’t mention is that Eveland, a lefty, was much more likely to hold Bourjos close at first base than Mejia was. Eveland doesn’t necessarily have a great move to first, but he is experienced and has a basic idea about how to hold runners on. Keeping Bourjos from getting into scoring position or being able to score from first on a long single is a very important factor in that situation.

    I like sabermetric analysis as much as the next person, but to conclude from the fact that lefties have hit .290 against Eveland over his career that he shouldn’t be brought in in that situation is weak. The question is, in the here and now, who has the better chance of getting Matt Adams out? Eveland looks like he’s been all right getting lefties out since he joined the Mets. I wasn’t that thrilled about Colon’s leaving the game, but I thought it actually was a pretty gutsy move for TC to take out Mejia. I think the way Adams’s AB went confirms the move: not just that he made an out, but that he did not get one good swing off Eveland during the AB.

    I really think that reasonable people can disagree about most of these moves. It bothers me that some people don’t draw a distinction between “I would have done this differently” and “that move is ridiculous and TC is the only person in the world who would have made it.” And whether TC’s after-the-fact explanation adds up isn’t really what matters; instead of trying to catch him in a “gotcha” moment in the heat of the postgame, why not just ask whether there is at least a reasonable basis for the decision, even if you might not agree with it?

    • Ken Meoni

      It’s important to look at the thought process of the manager and with his reasoning and answers, you have to question that process. No?

    • Clyde Spillenger

      I take your point, but I don’t think we should expect the manager’s postgame comments to have the precision of a lawyer’s brief or a press release. What’s important is that the strategic move itself have some merit to it, not that the manager satisfy everyone’s definition of logic with his post hoc explanation.

      In any case, TC’s basic stated reason for bringing in Eveland — that Adams has been killing right-handed pitching, and that he wanted a lefty who could throw sliders to face him instead — seems perfectly rational, if not necessarily conclusive. Yes, trying to instill confidence in Mejia by letting him finish the job is one legitimate consideration, but it’s not the only one. Both leaving him in and replacing him with Eveland there were reasonable options there.

    • Ken Meoni

      On the radio broadcast, Howie Rose brought up another option. Edgin. He talked how Edgin was much better against lefties then Eveland. I tend to go with that thought if Mejia was to be replaced. But, I am looking towards the future of this club and I would have liked to see how Mejia did to get out of the inning.

  • Nemo22

    Yet one more example as to why I call Terry Collins an imbecile. The dumbest manager in baseball by far.

  • Ken Meoni

    I totally agree Danny. As usual, Collins messes with a young players head and shows no confidence in his closer. The way I see it, they won in spite of Collins moves. He did his best to ruin a good game but fell short. Soon, you will see this team give up on the manager.

  • Victor Chu

    Clyde — you are not alone in your thoughts … you are commenting without emotion in play … can’t say the same about Danny nor Nemo22. That said, both you, Danny and Ken all have legitimate thoughts … I just wish Danny would interact with his readers a bit more with some replies … yeah, this is a blog to post the author’s thoughts and he doesn’t HAVE to interact with his readers, but I have to say that the Mets Today blog is so much better given the greater indepth analysis and the interaction between the blogger(s) and his readers … nowadays, I just read Danny’s posts to get the latest info (because he usually is 1st with the latest news and developments in Mets land … and every once in a while, I get amused by his rants … some (but not all) of which I actually agree with! Carry on boys …

    • Clyde Spillenger

      I appreciate this comment, Victor. Actually, as an old fogey I have nothing but praise for Danny and others who put in the time to run these blogs for the sheer love of it — it’s just that the overwhelming negativity and snarkiness of the blogosphere about the Mets puts me off sometimes. For myself, the one basic fact about the Mets is that ownership has deprived the team of the resources it should have and has been conspicuously dishonest about it — and sometimes the bashing of TC’s managerial moves and Sandy’s performance as GM seems like a sideshow. The team is bad because the personnel is mediocre at best, and the personnel is mediocre because the GM has to work within very tight limits.

    • Victor Chu

      Clyde — I agree with you on the negativity and snarkiness … it’s OK (and healthy) to express disappointment, but there’s a fine line between sharing one’s thoughts about it and being downright unnecessarily nasty. I, for one, have expressed negative sentiments about ownership, but I usually stop short of using derogatory terms. As for TC and SA, I’m sure they are doing the best they can given what they have to work with — I’m not saying they’re doing great by any means, but I think it’s fair to say that they’ve done some things well and other things not so well (such as communicating with the Mets fan base, establishing a winning environment (which is different from working and trying hard), etc). But, my gut tells me that as long as the Wilpons own this team, the Mets will likely not see the playoffs any time soon … and, especially not this year … sad, but likely true. I wish the Mets’ owners and front office can figure out how the A’s, Cards and Braves do it every year … until then, we will all just remain masochistic Mets fans here!

    • Ken Meoni

      I do agree with you. I like when Mike writes back on all comments on this blog. It adds alot to the conversation.